The Weight of Nothing

Parked outside the Kwik Mart, I search for a pen in my friend’s truck. Glove box, floor, nothing. The police raided my students’ home and arrested their father for first-degree murder. I had filed this away, saving it for Monday morning. As we walked into the gallery though, my phone buzzed with a link to an article detailing the kill: the last words, the number of gunshots, and the positions of the body and pooling blood. These images made my skin itch, while yellowed-night-vision eyes gleamed across the walls of the gallery. We left early to get better chasers at the gas station, but I stayed in the car.

I knew their father dropped them off at school every day, making sure to roll down the window and shout his love for his children—just to see them cringe and blush with teenage embarrassment.

Monday morning, my boss will listen to these students at her desk and nod silently, failing to recommend counseling services. She’ll insist that this would be crossing a cultural line. The pleasure in the solace she can provide will be caked on her face, and none of it will sit right.

The door on the driver’s side opens as my friend gets back into his truck. He hands me the black bag of sodas to hold. Instead, the bottles roll at my feet as Phoenix flies by my window.

Sophia McGovern splits her time between teaching English in an alternative high school, pursuing her master’s degree in secondary education, running little somethings press, and buying too many book t-shirts. Her work was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize, and can be found in Beautiful Cadavers Project Anthology, Uncomfortable Revolution, Crux Magazine, Four Chambers, and other publications.